Have you ever considered having a fish pond in your small garden but did not know where to start? In this article, I would like to highlight some key aspects you will need to consider before you start.

Ponds for small gardens

You can design your pond in different ways. Pond styles vary from formal to wildlife and everything in between. The choice is yours! If you want a formal pond design, it will have a modern and clean look. With the Wildlife pond, it will be more close to nature. No matter what you desire to do, there are few things you need to consider for any of the pond styles before you start.

Choose the right pond site

You should choose the site for the pond carefully. You should AVOID boggy ground, mains services, overhanging trees and, areas where pesticides were using. But make sure it’s within a convenient distance of primary water services. Ensure that it is deep enough to avoid the extremes of temperature in Winter – too cold or in Summer – too hot.

Pond materials

First of all, think about which materials to use. You can construct ponds of a variety of materials: flexible liner or Preformed pools. Ask for advice on estimating your requirements and installation techniques.

There are few little steps to consider:

  • Layout shape for your pond. Make sure you avoid complex forms as this might lead to construction difficulties.
  • You need then to level off the shape of your pond so the water can flow naturally.
  • Lay down the underlay and pond liner or preformed pool.
  • Add water to your pond and complete with edging with stone or pavement.
  • Add your pump, filter, plants, fish, lighting, and anything else.

Pond depth

Depending what kind of fishes you would like to have in your pond, the pond may slightly vary in depth. If you are going to keep Koi in your pond, then the pond has to be at least 1.2 meters deep. For other fishes, the pond should be 1 meter deep. Some fish types can live in smaller ponds with a minimum depth of 50cm, such as GoldfishShubunkinsand Sarasa Comets. These fishes can survive in the deepest part of the pond in Winter where the water is the warmest. However, it would be advisable to have at least 40% of the pond area at more than 50cm.

How to test pond water

If you are going to keep fishes in your pond, you need to ensure that the quality of pond water is good. Therefore, your pond may need a filter. It is best to incorporate this into your initial plan. In the beginning, you might need to test the quality of water in your pond every 1-2 days to ensure that the quality of the water is appropriate to keep fishes and plants. You can easily monitor your water quality using test kits.

If you have a small pond, you can easily use tap water by leaving it for at least 24 hours in a bucket to eliminate the chlorine contained in tap water. It will ensure a better quality of water before you introduce the fishes or plants into your pond.

To keep your pond clean, ensure that you maintain a healthy fish population and don’t overfeed the fish. You will also need to ensure that there is the right balance of your pond plants. Choose proper filtration and a good size filter for your pond.

Pond fishes

Make sure that you don’t stock fish which are too big for your pond. And don’t stock too many. The bigger the pond, the better. Feed your fish only as much at one time as they can eat in a couple of minutes. AVOID: feeding in very cold or hot conditions. Ensure adequate aeration, particularly but not only in hot conditions. The Golden Rule of stocking: if in doubt, don’t introduce more fish – ask advice! Remember that fishes are living animals and you should treat them with care. They will then repay you with years of enjoyment.

Small pond plants

Stocking with plants so that up to two-thirds of the surface is covered can enhance your pond and help combat Green water. A southerly aspect will help the pond plants grow. You can also use U.V. filtration and chemicals for your plants. For your small pond, you can use plants such as Water Lilies, Water Hyacinth, Water Lettuce, Creeping Jenny, etc. You should plant your plants between spring and early summer when the water is getting warm, and the plants are springing to life.

Ensure that you are using a dense loam compost which won’t float to the surface of the pond. Please ensure that you allow a whole pot or basket per plant to give them room to grow without becoming overcrowded. You will need to firm down the compost with your hands after planting and top up the pot with a layer of gravel. Set in shallow water on shelves around the pond margins. Plant direct in boggy soil or containers set in shallow water.

Waterfall in your small pond

Waterfalls add a great magical touch to your pond in your small garden. They provide this magnificent view where you can sit and relax for hours. It gives this fantastic space for peace and joy. Add a waterfall to your small garden, and you can transform your place into something breathtaking and beautiful. Again the design could be from Formal to Wildlife, depending on your preferences and pond design. You can use preformed waterfalls or create your own by using stones, etc.

If you want to create an even more magnificent waterfall in your pond, you may wish to add pond lighting systems. Depending what your budget and preferences are, you can use either electrical or solar lighting for your waterfall pond.

Pond for relaxation in your small garden

Pond will add this final touch to your small beautiful garden. Enjoy your ideal little water oasis!

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10 thoughts on “How to build your own Garden Pond”

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I would love to have a fish pond in my garden, it’s just so relaxing to sit and watch fish, I have no idea why but watching fish has always gave me a tranquil relaxed feeling, it just makes me feel less stressed, I am on medication for high blood pressure and reading your post here has made me realise that having a fish pond in my garden may help with lowering my blood pressure and now I know how to build one, thank you for sharing this post,  

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    Russ,

    Many thanks fo your comment and I wish you all the best. If you have any questions at any point, please do not hesitate to ask. Happy to help!

    Warm Regards,
    Olga

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Wow, seem like a really nice idea to me. I have only just set up a garden which is really spacious and I believe setting a size able pond will be really cool in it. I love the way you have given detailed explanation on how to go about it and how one can stock fishes. But I’m a bit confused about some thing. First I have seen a pond which after some days or a week start smelling, how do we go about that?  Also I have a really small girl around who loves being in the garden with my cat, she could throw stuffs into the pond, how do we tackle that?

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    Chloe,

    Many thanks for reading my post and for your comments.

    (1) To your first question about the pond smell. If you have a pond with fish, I would recommend a dedicated filter system and pond pump to effectively process the bio-load of organic waste produced. If you don’t have a filter, harmful substances and organic matter will slowly build to dangerous levels, which may lead to all sorts of problems, including unpleasant smells. Ensuring your filter and pump are the correct size for your pond and keeping up with maintenance is essential for a healthy fish pond. Stagnant pond water is not only the most common cause of pond smells, but it can also lead to a whole host of other issues. All types of ponds, either with or without fish, will require a stable amount of aeration and water flow to remain healthy. Aeration provides important oxygen to fish and bacteria, nutrients to plants, and movement to prevent harmful substance build up. It would be also advaisable to clean pond after winter to remove leaves, etc.

    (2) To your second question. If your girl is still very small, I would recommend to also have Child Safe Pond Covers (especially for a childs safety). This will also prevent to throw her big items into the pond. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Warm regards,
    Olga

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Hi Olga,  Love your article!  It makes me want to go straight out and build one.  So helpful, giving plant and fish names as well as the construction details.  I so agree a waterfall and the lighting gives the pond users a magical experience.

We have a bore so I guess the water is already natural so there would be no need to be concerned.  Is this correct?  We have kingfishers that live in our garden.  It is their permanent address!!!!  Unfortunately, I would need to cover the pond or the fish would become a tasty meal for them.  How would I do that?

Thanks so much for all the info.  Look forward to your reply.  Cheers 

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    Jill,

    Thank you so much for reading my post and for your comments.

    (1) To your first question:
    Borehole water levels can vary depending on the area and it isn’t something I would generally recommend for the fish ponds. You may want considering to test your borehole water before putting there any fish as it may be affected by various things such as fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, chemicals etc. It can also be contaminated naturally by minerals, bacteria and viruses. If your borehole water is free of any iron (or contains a low level of it) and with a perfect PH, then it would be great for the fish pond. You also may need to consider using dedicated filter system and pond pump for your pond to ensure that water stays clean.

    (2) To your second question:
    You may consider to have Netting or Pond Covers to protect your fish. There is a variety of different types available and depending on your preference, you may find something suitable.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Warm regards,
    Olga

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The beauty that follows the presence of pond being in a garden makes it really nice. I have seen so many designs which I love to much but the cost of setting up something similar is whats holding me back. I have only recently broken down my pond because I was problems with the PH of the water as it was killing the fish, coupled with the fact that there isn’t any plant in the water that can neutralize its acidity. I look forward to setting up a new one soon but I don’t know how to deal with the PH level yet, any suggestion?

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Dane,

Many thanks for reading my post and for your comments!

A good PH level for pond is between 6.5 to 9.0 for ponds with koi, a common pond fish, etc. PH is a measure of whether water is acidic or basic. As fish have an average blood pH of 7.4, so in order to ensure a healthy pH level, pond water with a pH close to this level would be optimum. Fish can become stressed and may get unwell in water with a pH level ranging from 4.0 to 6.5 and 9.0 to 11.0.

Water with a low Pond pH level (i.e. below 6.5 pH) causes a pond to become acidic. The reason for it is – Carbon Dioxide, which gets into all ponds from the air. When Carbon Dioxide reacts with the water it forms Carbonic Acid which lowers the pH. If your pond pH water level is decreasing below 6.5 you can use baking soda at a rate of 1 teaspoon for every 5-10 gallons of pond water. Best practice is to collect some pond water in a bucket and dissolve the recommended amount of baking soda for your pond in the bucket.

High Pond pH (i.e. above 7.5 and close to 9.0). Add standard, white household vinegar to your pond if the pH testing kit reveals a pH that is above 7.5 level. Use 1/4 cup of vinegar for every 500 gallons of water in your pond. The acid contained in the vinegar will help to neutralize the alkalinity and will lower the pond water’s pH levels.

Hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have any further questions.
All the best,
Olga

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Hi there,

This is a wonderful article describing how to build a garden pond. Your pond could provide an essential relaxation outfit right nearby your house. 

It seems not hard to create a small pond, have a fish or two and some small plants. You may add a small fall to the garden to create a vibrant and refreshing atmosphere.

I have few queries if you can help me with.

Are there any plans to clean garden fish pond water?

Does the pond fish in the garden need to be fed especially if the pond is made of up rock?

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Anusuya,

Many thanks for visiting my site and for your comments!

To your questions:
(1) You need to maintain a healthy fish population in your pond and don’t overfeed your fish. Also it is necessary to create a proper balance of plants and to choose the right size pump for your pond. Clean debris from pond before it has a chance to decay. Also ensure that your pond has proper filtration. If you follow these simple steps, the water in the pond will stay naturally clean. However, there might be times, when you need to clean your water (especially from leaves after winter etc.).

(2) If your pond will be containing not so many fish, you would not need to feed your fish. Especially if your fish is small, they are very well capable to find their own feed. Small fishes eat insects and larvae, which naturally live in a pond. However, if you have many fish in your pond or large fish, you will need to feed your fish. You only need to give them once a day a very little amount, so they finish their food within a few minutes.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions.
All the best,
Olga

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